DirectConnect was introduced in 2006 as a partnership between the University of Central Florida (UCF) and four Central Florida colleges: Valencia College, Brevard and Lake-Sumter Community Colleges and Seminole State College. Open to all students, this transfer initiative places emphasis on the student experience, smooth transition from college to the university, shared-use of facilities, and strong academic programs/services. Specficially, DirectConnect students receive preferential and concurrent admission to UCF, which increases student access. Shared advisers, curriculum alignment and a regional approach to programs ensure consistency across institutions, student success in subsequent courses/programs, and smooth transitions. Scholarship dollars are raised at joint philantrhopic events. For example, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation offered a challenge grant to support need-based scholarships specifically for DirectConnect students. Further, shared-use facilities at Valencia include the University Center at West Campus and classrooms and common spaces at the Osceola Campus. DirectConnect at Valencia is a fully integrated program that has no separate associated costs or budget, per se. It has proven to be a highly productive, fiscally responisble, and scaleable program, withstanding the best and worst budget conditions.
Accelerating Hispanic college transfer and degree completion is an intentional part of DirectConnect as is a commitment to practices and policies that produce positive results. DirectConnect at Valencia has enabled more of our Hispanic students to fulfill their college aspirations providing them with a compelling reason to stay the course, graduate from Valencia, and earn a baccalaureate degree at UCF.
- Since 2007, over 33,000 Valencia graduates have transferred to UCF as part of DirectConnect; 30.84% (10,292) were Hispanic.
- Valencia Hispanic graduation rates over the last decade have outpaced the rate for all of our students, increasing to 45.5% from 33.7%.
- Valencia’s Hispanic DirectConnect students comprised fully 35% of all Hispanic transfer students to UCF in the 2015-16 academic year.
- 29.4% of undergraduate minority students who started at UCF in 2015-16 were Valencia transfer students.
- DirectConnect students are persistent. Nearly a quarter of all UCF Bachelor’s graduates are from Valencia College. (24.2% in 2015-16). Hispanic students made up 31% of the Valencia transfers who graduated from UCF with bachelors degrees.
- In 2015-16, 43% of UCF Bachelor’s graduates were transfer students from DirectConnect partner colleges.
- Overall, 26% of DirectConnect students (from all partner colleges) who completed a UCF bachelor’s degree did so in 2 years; 68.2% completed in 3 years; and 85% completed in 4 years. 17% of these graduates were Hispanic, as compared to 14% from Florida non-partner institutions.
Source: UCF Florida College System Consortium Partners’ Student Success Feedback Report, Valencia College 2015-16.